Louis-area native among astronauts picked for SpaceX launch

Louis-area native among astronauts picked for SpaceX launch

The five astronauts assigned to the first flights gathered Friday at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the announcement.

The first US astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station, waving after being announced, (left to right) Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Suni Williamson at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on August 3.

NASA will announce the astronauts for the first test flights and missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft Friday.

Chris Ferguson and Marine Corps test pilot Nicole Mann, who will conduct the first Starliner flight test sometime in mid-2019. NASA has been paying Russian Federation for flights launched from remote Kazakhstan to the ISS ever since, banking on its Commercial Crew Program to develop a cheaper, reliable and safe American-based alternative.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon space capsule, which will make a trial trip attached to a Falcon rocket launched from Florida, will have a crew of two: Doug Hurley, who piloted both the Endeavor and the Atlantis, and Bob Behnken, who has six space trips on his resume.

USA astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station.

The successful flight marked the scheduled end of the 30-year space shuttle program. The race to get astronauts to the space station first is real; a US flag that flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the last shuttle flight in 2011, awaits the victor.

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In recent months, they have clashed over tariffs, Russian interference in USA elections, North Korea and now spending. Trump in order to keep on that track. "Whenever he gets involved he seems to mess it up", Schumer said.

An artist's conception shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship docking with the International Space Station, plus a cargo-carrying version of the Dragon in the foreground.

All the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have been taken there on Russian Soyuz spacecraft since the retirement of the American shuttle in 2011.

These three astronauts are responsible for Boeing's Starliner spacecraft.

If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions. Suni Williams, who is best known for running the Boston Marathon on an ISS treadmill, will be joined by rookie astronaut Josh Cassada.

From left to right: Astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Robert Behnken, Douglas Hurley, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Sunita Williams gave a thumbs up to the crowd.

The timetable for the launches was supposed to have been for test flights to take place before the end of 2018, but both companies have faced technical issues that may delay that into 2019. He is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009. SpaceX's first operational flight to the space station will also be Glover's first flight to space. "We had our quarterly [review] this week, and for the first time in years, it felt real". Boeing's and SpaceX's commercial spacecraft may also open the space station - and more broadly, Earth orbit - to more privately-funded visitors and spaceflight participants from countries that do not have their own domestic crewed spacecraft and rockets.

SpaceX said it would fly crews by April. She has spent a grand total of 322 days in space including a stint commanding the space station and performing seven spacewalks.

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